Has anyone here ever beaten an addiction?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by TSE, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. TSE macrumors 68030


    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Currently dealing with fighting a problem that has plagued me since childhood. Been getting professional help and it's been a very long road. I lose motivation to fight when things are going "ok". I'm becoming more aware of the patterns in life that lead to me falling down again, I'm just not sure how to break them. I almost wish I would hit rock bottom and everything crash down in my life so that I am backed into a corner and can't hide from it anymore.

    Any good stories or personal experiences here?
  2. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2010
    My understanding is that you can't really break an addiction. However, you can force yourself in either avoiding the situation or refuse to engage into the destructive behavior.

    My suggestion? Find a philosophy of life you can agree with. Without a philosophy we just think in terms of technicalities. With a philosophy, you manage your life. Minimalism, for example, can help people to stop being in debt. With Crossfit/MartialArts/Athletics, you can prevent drinking alcohol and eating junk food because it would be detrimental to your lifestyle. With Digital Minimalism you can prevent being on social media 4 hours a day just by doing random 5 minutes checks. With Stoicism you will think in different terms entirely. A well formed philosophy is much stronger than anything else (and yes, in my opinion it can also be religion/spiritual oriented).

    My 2c (disclaimer: I am a random dude on the internet. I have no formal training etc. so I am just providing my point of view.)

    As for addictions, I think that I was addicted to social media and tech in general (destroyed with Digital Minimalism and Deep Work philosophy). I was also mildly addicted to beer, I stopped when I started thinking in both Stoic terms and as a Martial artist (a sucker at it, but a Martial artist nonetheless).
    My other addiction is coffee, but I ain't giving that away!
  3. LizKat macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2004
    Catskill Mountains
    I am in long term and sustained recovery from alcoholism since 1978. Mainly what I can offer by way of help is just that a sustainable recovery from any addiction seems to take willingness to stay engaged with other people who, if they are "professionals" do really understand addiction... and otherwise hang out with at least a few other people who are also in long term recovery themselves.

    As active addicts in the past, we have been pretty unreliable narrators of our own capabilities, desires, intentions and even accomplishments, right? Otherwise how did we end up in trouble again after deciding ok this is not for me, I'm swearing off it...

    We may tend to blame ourselves for stuff that's not our fault, but we don't take responsibility for what really is on us. And we might say "Well if you had a boss / spouse / parent / kid like mine..." etc. Any excuse will do when we're about to give up on ourselves one more time and invite active addiction back into the room for another round of self-destruction.

    Right, so none of those patterns just goes away when we do quit actively feeding an addiction. They linger and need attention and awareness of their somehow sneaking back into action again. It was suggested to me that I always --like every day-- treat my sobriety, my freedom from my formerly active addiction, as if that freedom is very very fragile, in order to make it strong and not become a gift just taken for granted.

    I was helped to attain and then learn how to retain freedom from active addiction to alcohol by a counselor at an employee assistance program, a psychiatrist and a whole bunch of people in 12-step programs, both Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous.

    The message there for me is that total self reliance in addiction treatment seems very risky. We were experts as active addicts at kidding ourselves, right? I sure was.

    Left to our own devices in early recovery, we may start figuring we have beat the addiction and then someday it may suddenly seem like the sidewalks run right up to a palatial pile of whatever it is we're addicted to using or doing. Or it may seem like just one dip back into the old life is no big deal. That's BS but we might need help to remember that.

    Last summer I celebrated 40 years of being, as we say, "one drink away" from my active addiction to alcohol. I don't "manage my non-drinking". I just don't drink today, and I don't put that on autopilot, it's a moment spent every day as a simple but conscious decision, and in gratitude that I have been helped by so many people to remember it's important to me to not use alcohol. I have said so... and they'd be willing to remind me of that if I faltered and started acting like I did not really value my freedom from active addiction.

    Even the other addicts I've subsequently tried to help myself, people who asked for help but then fell away to ruin or who are dead now have helped me. It's much more fun thinking about the recoveries of some of those who believe I have played a part in their new lives, but the lost souls have left an impression on me that is just as indelible.

    Anyone can recover... but not everyone does. We have choices that are important to make consciously each day, to put us among those who do achieve long term recovery.

    I wish you good fortune ahead. I'd say forget trying to beat addiction, just mind the pitfalls of a potential relapse -- "people, places, things" that can lead back to active addiction-- and celebrate with others now and then the joy of freedom from it instead. It makes it easier to turn down opportunities to throw all that away when some random chance to do so turns up yet again. Pick up the phone before that happens and talk it over with someone who understands where you are coming from.

    It's not great to wrestle with this stuff by ourselves, because that old unreliable narrator in our own head is not on our side in a situation like that

    Reach out to someone you've shared happiness with over being free of the active addiction. That person in a good space is a reliable story teller. He or she will remind you then of what you said you wanted from a life that was free of what you may sometimes struggle to leave behind for one more day or hour. We all have moments of vulnerability, but they don't have to mean that we throw our freedom away just because we wish we could handle everything without help from another human being. Again, the best of luck to you going forward.
  4. Sword86 macrumors regular

    Oct 6, 2012
    Yup, but prefer not to make it public here.
    Circumstances took place that lessened my access to it, hence my usage, and I had been seeing distinct signs it was messing me up physically and of course financially, so I decided it was time to stop. I did this by removing myself from my environment for a month to a location where it would be a reasonable hassle to continue use of it. That was the key for me. I was able to see where I was headed and didn’t like what I saw. Done. It will be 15 years next August. It rarely even enters my mind anymore, and on the very odd occasion that it does I simply give it no further thought whatsoever. Now I think I just had poor willpower over it. I liked it a lot, but now when I look back I don’t really even think I was an addict, if that makes any sense. S
  5. a2jack macrumors regular


    Feb 5, 2013
    I fought a 20 year two pack + a day smoking addiction.

    Even now, after not having a cigarette in over 40 yeas, the urge to smoke slips into the back of my mind. Even writing this is a risk... I can taste it now.

    You can only win over an addiction by quitting over and over...Till the day you die .

    Keep quitting folks, and never say the word "Try". a2
  6. Not-Sure Suspended


    Mar 6, 2019
    I have a friend who is a cutie and she had problems with alcohol and bad, I believe drugs too. She went to rehab. basically, the thing is this... You will stop and NEVER try again. When you stop, you stop, if you have a sip that means that you didn't stop, it means you just took a break. When you realize you are doing your addiction again.

    You have to leave it, get distracted and create another path. Addictions will be there, ready. Just ignore it. The mission is to learn to ignore the addiction and it will lose strength. NEVER overestimate yourself, if you try a bit, you will be back and everything was lost.

    Imagine sleeping in the same bed with your ex and ignore her. Until one day you just walk around the house doing your life and she has no effect on you. THAT is the addiction being resolved. One day she is just part of the furniture. If you talk to her again, you are into the relationship again.
  7. Strider64 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2015
    Suburb of Detroit
    I remember talking to an alcoholic who quit drinking and I said "Hey, it great that you're a former drinker". His response kind of surprise me, but it made sense. His response was "No, I'm not a former drinker, I'm an Alcoholic. I have to take one day at a time and I have to quit drinking everyday. If I should happen to relapse I have to start all over with AA meetings and get in contact with my sponsor. However, the most important thing is that I want to be helped, I want to need to quit". Obviously it's not quoted verbosely as I don't have that great of a memory; however, for the most part it is accurate. I feel for addicts and I hope I continue to have the willpower never to give into addiction.
  8. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    Interesting analogy.

    I agree with the taking of different paths.

    I’m struggling with relationships with the Mrs. your statement is true, at least in my case. When I go weeks without any sort of communication I feel better as each day goes on. Then when there is contact, guess what, yeah I feel crappy.

    I have learned every time I walk by my hockey bag I get the same feeling as I do when I see a bottle of vodka (been sober for 3 years). Hockey has a strange effect on me, very similar to drinking. I fight not going to the rink but when I get there I don’t want to leave. Tough to explain.

    But back to your point. A relationship can be just as toxic as an addiction.
  9. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020


    Jan 31, 2015
    I’m not an addict myself but I provide healthcare to people struggling with addiction- anywhere from 50-75% of my patients at any given time. The short answer to your question is yes, people can overcome their addiction.

    You do not have to reach rock bottom to change your life. The fact that you’re reaching out here is really courageous and shows that you do want to change.

    Recovery for many is a long and challenging. As I’m sure you know, it takes many people many tries and many years to get on track. I think largely because of 12 step programs people get so hung up on time, and to some extent it is important, but it’s not everything. Every relapse or slip up they feel like they’re back to square 1. That’s not the case. Every stint of sobriety is a learning experience, as is every relapse. Some of my patients with long term sobriety tell me their last relapse was the best thing that ever happened because it gave the clarity they needed.

    I work of a psych hospital and am a part owner of a residential psych/addiction dual diagnosis program (though we have plenty of people who really are just addiction patients- depression/anxiety pretty much comes with the territory of early recovery).

    I’ve seen a lot of long term success stories which is really inspiring. I have many coworkers who have overcome horrible situations and addictions and who are happy, healthy, productive members of society who are brilliant at what they do.

    I encourage you to reach out to your support system and if necessary maybe find a different provider or level of professional care. Your profile says “school” - idk if thats up to date but if you’re young, I can tell you the #1 theme I see is a lack of direction and purpose in life. If you don’t feel like you have meaning in life, what is there to be sober for? To compound it, people struggling with addiction may have aspirations but their self esteem is so low that their goals just seem too far out of reach. I’m not sure if this applies to you, but I really wish more recovery programs looked at this.

    I sincerely wish you the best. Please continue reach out to us. I’m sure everyone here would be happy to do what we can to support you.
  10. T-R-S macrumors 6502


    Sep 25, 2010
    Silicon Valley
  11. YaBe, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019

    YaBe macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2017
    I am about in the same boat, I start project fully charged, but when i get say 80% done for me it's done and lose motivation, it's like...eh what the hell the rest is easy.

    My ideal solution would be to have a team taking up on the 20% i have left so they can accomplish my project and I can focus on the "next big thing"....but it will never happen.

    Sometimes i just think of myself as a visionary, and for them it is more the concept and seeing it getting done than actually see the finished product as it is surpassed anywhay by the time it gets "released", other times i just think of myself as a lazy person who doesn't want to finish things.

    When I do beat my lazyness and finish the project, I usually NEVER attempt the same project again, as for me it is a done deal, I beat that challenge and it would annoy me doing it again.

    I believe, the way to break the "pattern" is to avoid being bored by the part you need to finish (that infamous 20%)trying to find ways to make it "a challenge".
  12. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    For all intents and purposes, my Dad has beaten two addictions: alcohol and smoking.

    For alcohol, it required a divorce, AA, a halfway house, and his decision, that he had reached his bottom, and it was time to change or lose everything and maybe die. That was his perception and decision to make a change. Living as a child, teen, and adult in this environment, my observation, that besides encouragement and support, that ultimately it is the individual who decides when they need to change.

    As far as a cigarette addiction, he tried to quit smoking for 30 years, tried multiple cures, and what finally worked was when he had to face a growth on his bladder and an aneurysm. He took his pack of cigarettes, placed them on the doctor’s desk and stopped cold turkey, about 10 years ago.

    I admit, my story is not really inspirational, but is just evidence that with the right assistance, information, ramifications, negative impact, and most importantly personal perspective and motivation, addictions can be broken, when the individual decides or has the ability to decide they have had enough of the addiction status quo.
    --- Post Merged, May 9, 2019 ---
    Agreed! But I’ll add, that rock bottom is a variable personal standard.
    --- Post Merged, May 9, 2019 ---
    Thanks for sharing! :)

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11 April 29, 2019